The 2015 KBO season has kicked off in Korea. For the first time in the league’s history it features ten teams as the KT Wiz begin play this year. Once again the team to beat is four-time defending champion Samsung Lions.
As we kick off the season, we thought we would take a look at the foreign imports this year for each team. Many of the names you might recognize from the minors or MLB.
Alfredo Figaro – Figaro has had a cup of coffee with two MLB teams (DET/MIL) with most of his MLB experience coming in 2013 out of the bullpen pitching in 33 games. Overall he has put up solid numbers in the minors both as a starter and reliever.
Yamaico Navarro – Navarro had a big season last year with Samsung hitting .308 with 31 home runs, 96 RBI, and 25 stolen bases.
Tyler Cloyd – Cloyd pitched last season with Triple-A Columbus in the Cleveland minor leagues. He has a little bit of MLB experience, all with PHI in 2012 and 2013.
Andy Van Hekken – Van Hekken had a great year last season with Nexen going 20-6. He is back for his fourth year with the Heroes.
Ryan Feierabend – A former 3rd round pick by Seattle, Ryan has a small bit of MLB experience. Most of it came early in his career with Seattle, but he was in six games last season with Texas. The left handed pitcher has over 230 minor league starts with success at different levels.
Brad Snyder – Another one that got in a few games for Texas in 2014, Snyder has very little MLB experience but he has put up good numbers at all levels of the minors and has a lot of AAA experience. He played in a few games last season with LG as well.
Charles Shirek – This will be Charlie’s third year in the KBO, all with NC. He pitched well last year posting a 12-8 record.
Eric Thames – Eric had a huge year at the plate for NC last year hitting 37 home runs. It was easily his best season as a professional. He hit .343 with 121 RBI.
Eric Hacker – Hacker is back for his third straight year with NC. He improved last season to 8-8 after going 4-11 in his initial season although he posted a bit better ERA.
Lucas Harrell – Lucas pitched the past four season with the Houston Astros. He led the league in losses in 2013 with 17. His numbers in the minor leagues are much better but he is looking for a nice comeback year in 2015.
Henry Sosa – Sosa is not new to the KBO. He pitched for two season with Kia in 2012 and 2013. Then came back and pitched for awhile with Nexen in 2014.
Jack Hannahan – Jack has a lot of MLB experience with over 1800 plate appearances with Detroit, Oakland, Seattle, Cleveland, and most recently Cincinnati. He has never shown much pop in the bat (13 home runs in AAA is a high) and can struggle with the strike outs from time to time.
Jim Adduci – Jim had a few at bats with the Texas Rangers the last two seasons but has spent most of his career in the minor leagues. He has some speed (high of 35 stolen bases) and has shown some recent pop (16 home runs in 2013 with Triple-A Round Rock).
Brooks Raley – The big lefty hurler has a little time in the MLB with the Cubs, but little success. However, he doesn’t walk many batters and has posted 2+ SO/K ratios over several seasons.
Josh Lindblom – The former 2nd round pick has had some success in the MLB with Philadelphia and a few other teams. His best season in the MLB was 2012 when he pitched in 74 games for Philadelphia and the Dodgers posting a 3.55 ERA in relief. He has more relief experience and even some as a closer.
This is part one of two looking at the foreign imports for the KBO. Next time we will look at the players from KIA, Hanwha, KT, SK, and Doosan. Thanks to Dan over at MyKBO.net for the names of the players. If you haven’t done so, check out what he does over there for the most comprehensive coverage of the KBO in English anywhere.